Welcome to four new CRLC Members for 2003!
Kate Laffan, Honours Student (Linguistics), School of
Language Studies, Faculty of Arts, ANU
Helen McLagan, Master of Linguistics Student, School
of Language Studies, Faculty of Arts, ANU
Dr. Karl Rensch, Visiting Fellow, School of Language Studies, Faculty of Arts, ANU (full member)
Matthew Toulmin, PhD Student (Linguistics), School of Language
Studies, Faculty of Arts, ANU
For a complete list of the current CRLC Members click here.
· Anthony Diller is now a temporary Visiting Fellow in the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology, La Trobe University, Melbourne, where he is presently working on the history of Thai serial verb constructions.
· Terry Crowley has been awarded a personal chair at the University of Waikato.
The call is made for presenters and participants for a workshop on the theme of “Language Contact and Language Change”, to be held as part of the Australian Linguistic Society Meeting (Newcastle University, 26-28th September 2003). The workshop will be coordinated by Paul Sidwell (email: email@example.com), Evershed Amuzu (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and Pascale Jacq (email: email@example.com), and a webpage (http://crlc.anu.edu.au/workshop.html) has been set up to provide updated information about presenters and abstracts. The ALS Conference website is: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/als2003
The proposal is for one or two three hour sessions (depending upon the level of interest). At each session up to six presenters will read prepared papers (20 minutes each) followed by an hour of free discussion. Presentations are sought under the following two (interconnected) themes:
Please advise Paul Sidwell (via email) of your intention to present, and a title for your presentation, by 31 July, 2003 (earlier if possible).
Following the workshop presenters and participants will be invited to submit written contributions for publication in a volume of papers, to be published by the Centre for Research on Language Change (ANU), edited by the workshop coordinators.
We had a successful HistLing Seminar Series for 2003 during April-June. The seminar titles and abstracts are given below:
30th April: Evershed Amuzu (School of Language Studies, Arts, ANU) “Beyond surface grammatical structures: A language-production based grammatical analysis of mixed constitutents in Ewe-English Codeswitching” [Abstract]
7th May: Cynthia Allen (School of Language Studies, Arts, ANU) “Our this fascinating construction: investigating the interaction of determiners and possessives in the history of English” [Abstract]
14 May: Paul Sidwell (Department of Linguistics, RSPAS, ANU) “Looking for Su': the adventures, surprises and rewards of finding a language when you don't really know where it is, or who speaks it” [Abstract]
21st May: Andrew Pawley (Department of Linguistics, RSPAS, ANU) “Assignment of animate gender to non-human referents in English: comparative and historical notes ” [Abstract]
28th May: Harold Koch & Pascale Jacq (School of Language Studies, Arts, ANU) “Towards the reconstruction of Pama-Nyungan verb inflection” [Abstract]
4th June: Malcolm Ross (Department of Linguistics, RSPAS, ANU) “Possession in Oceanic” [Abstract]
The next series is projected for September-October 2003.
Language Change and Linguistic Reconstruction (LING2005/6005) was taught in first semester by Dr. Bethwyn Evans.
Study of a Language Family (Mon-Khmer) (LING3008/6508) will
be taught in second semester, 2003 by Dr. Paul Sidwell (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Course materials will be distributed by the presenter—no prescribed
text is specified.
This is a new feature of the Newsletter. Members and Associates are invited to submit one-paragraph book notes to bring to the attention of colleagues recently published books relevant to language change.
Andersen, Henning (ed.). 2003. Studies in Stratigraphy: Papers from the Workshop on Linguistic Stratigraphy and Prehistory at the Fifteenth International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Melbourne, 17 August 2001. (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 239) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Every language includes layers of lexical and grammatical elements that entered it at different times in the more or less distant past. Hence, for periods preceding our earliest historical documentation, linguistic stratigraphy—the systematic study of such layers—may yield information about the prehistory of a given tradition of speaking in a variety of ways. For instance, irregular phonological reflexes may be evidence of the convergence of diverse dialects in the formation of a language, and layers of material from different source languages may form a record of changing cultural contacts in the past. In this volume are discussed past problems and current advances in the stratigraphy of Indo-European, African, Southeast Asian, Australian, Oceanic, Japanese, and Meso-American languages. Contributions by: Henning Andersen; Karen Dakin; Anthony Diller; Bridget Drinka; Christopher Ehret; B.F.Y.P. Masele; Patrick McConvell; Bernard Mees; Derek Nurse; Hans Schmidt; Michael Smith; J. Marshall Unger. [Publisher’s blurb]
Briscoe, Ted. (ed.). Linguistic Evolution through Language Acquisition: Formal and Computational Models. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. vii+349 pages, hardbound, ISBN 0 521 66299 0. This book is really two books in one. Four chapters (WBKH) use computer simulation to demonstrate that agents with no innate syntactic structure can interact to create and preserve both the lexicon and syntax of languages over many generations. Three other chapters (NTB) base their simulations on an innate Universal Grammar—the general form of grammar is built into the agents and the lexicon is given little or no importance. All authors assume that the agents under study have a great deal of “innate” language-related structure. The “linguistic evolution” studied here is not the evolution of the capacity for language but rather the ability of a community to build on innate mechanisms to seek coherence in the encoding of meanings by strings of symbols (WBHK) or the parameter settings in their grammars (NTB). The “through language acquisition” of the title is that as each agent is added to a population it seeks to model its sample of the utterances of the existing population and in so doing changes the population profile. The language defined by the statistics of the population’s output “evolves” accordingly. [Michael Arbib]
Crowley, Terry. 2002. Serial Verbs in Oceanic: A Descriptive Typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. This volume represents a typological overview of the various kinds of serial verb constructions in Oceanic languages, while placing these constructions within the more general universal typology of verb serialisation. The discussion examines how serial verbs originate, investigating issues such as language contact and functional considerations in language change. Serial verbs are often subject to reanalysis, and this book investigates how they have d eveloped new grammatical functions in different languages. [Terry Crowley]
de Swaan, Abram. 2001. Words of the world: The global language
system. Cambridge: Polity Press. [distributed by Blackwell] This
book has something to say about language change in the broadest sense;
it discusses the forces that influence how languages spread, contract,
and disappear. Language ecology in particular parts of the world is
described in terms of a “galactic model”, whereby the functions
of different languages can be described in terms of their roles as peripheral,
central, super-central and even hyper-central codes in a “constellation”
of languages. Using concepts from political economy and political sociology,
the author calculates the relative communicative potential of the languages
in a given polyglossic society and uses this to show how speakers use
their understanding of the relative value of languages in making choices
regarding: the learning of second languages, the languages favoured
for the education of their children and for official use in their state,
the abandonment of heritage languages, etc. Situations described include:
the European Union; post-colonial
Dixon, R.M.W. 2002. Australian languages: Their nature
and development. Cambridge University Press. Pp. xlii + 734. Hardback.
In some respects this large book functions as an expanded and up-dated
version of Dixon’s 1980 The languages of
Joseph, Brian D. and Richard D. Janda. 2003. The handbook of historical linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing (http://www.blackwell-science.com/) Joseph and Janda describe the aims of a handbook as being to “sift through and sum up the received wisdom and accepted body of knowledge in a particular field” (p.125) and this book attempts to do just that for the field of historical linguistics. In their introduction Joseph and Janda discuss what is known and not known about change and time “both linguistic and otherwise” questioning some of the received views on language change and language history. The remainder of the volume comprises 25 chapters on different aspects of historical linguistics. The first five chapters, examining the major methods employed in the study of language change, including the comparative method (Rankin, Harrison) and internal reconstruction (Ringe), as well as the methods for distant genetic relationships (Campbell), are followed by 16 chapters examining change within different domains of grammar covering phonology, morphology/lexicon, syntax and pragmatics/semantics. The final four chapters are concerned with the causes of language change, including psycholinguistic (Aitchison) and contact-induced (Thomason) causes of change. This 700 page book (with 100 page bibliography) provides an introduction and summary of traditional notions of historical linguistics, as well as examining issues that have become relevant (again) more recently, and for a number of the topics covered each of the two or more papers present differing viewpoints, all of which leads to a book which is useful to both beginning and advanced students of historical linguistics. [Bethwyn Evans]
Myers-Scotton, Carol. 2002. Contact Linguistics: Bilingual Encounters and Grammatical Outcomes. Oxford University Press. With the publication of her 1993 book, Duelling Languages—Grammatical Structures in Codeswitching, Myers-Scotton’s name became almost a synonymn for her “Matrix Language Frame Model” and how it constrains intra-sentential Codeswitching (CS). This new book is an expansion of the scope of her contribution to the field of language contact research. Her basic argument is two-fold: (a) the nature of structural outcomes of a contact phenomenon may be understood properly only when the cognitive processes that operate during language production beyond the observable structures are first understood thoroughly and (b) the same cognitive and linguistic principles which constrain CS structures—and not necessarily CS itself as a mechanism—also constrain in various ways the structures of constituents that are associated with other language contact phenomena (e.g. Lexical Borrowing, Convergence, contact-induced grammatical change, Split or Mixed Languages, Pidgin & Creoles, etc). Her analyses now feature not only the Matrix Language Frame Model but also two sister models, the “Abstract Level model” and “4-M model” (i.e. model of four universal types of morphemes). It appears that in a field of study where many are still sceptical about the verifiability of cognitive linguistic processes, her extensive use of illustrations from worldwide contact data—contemporary and historical—may help attest her premises. [Evershed Kwasi Amuzu]
Rosenbach, A. 2002. Genitive variation in English: conceptual factors in synchronic and diachronic studies. Berlin and Hawthorne, N.Y.: Mouton de Gruyter. Rosenbach takes a fresh look at the factors (such as animacy and topicality) determining whether an –s genitive or an of genitive is used in Modern English, treating the s–genitive as a semantic-pragmatic anchoring device. She presents some extremely interesting results on some differences between American and British English in the use of the –s genitive. Rosenbach argues that contrary to the belief that the use of the two genitives has been settled for a long time now, changes are still underway. Of particular interest to those interested in the history of the genitive in earlier periods is the evidence which Rosenbach presents against the widely accepted view that the –s genitive steadily declined from Early Middle English until stabilizing in the 17th century. Analyzing new data from a period which has not received much attention, Rosenbach makes a convincing case that after becoming increasingly (but never completely) restricted to proper nouns and personal-noun possessors over a period of centuries, the –s genitive enjoyed a revival from the 15th century. This well-written book (originally a doctoral thesis) is a welcome addition to the study of adnominal possessives in the history of English and the discussions of grammaticalisation and the mechanisms involved in linguistic change make worthwhile reading for historical linguists who have no special interest in the history of English per se. [Cynthia Allen]
Trask, R.L. 2000. The dictionary of historical and comparative linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. This book of some 400 pages, available in a paperback edition, is a handy reference of most of the specialised terms that historical linguists are likely to come across. Items are arranged in alphabetical order and each provided with an explanation, plus in many cases one or more examples, and in some case a bibliographical reference. To illustrate the coverage, I select the letter U at random. Terms provided are not confined to the apparatus of diachronic linguistics alone (e.g. unconditioned change, univerbation, Uniformity Principle), where special attention is paid to the recent literature (e.g. Uniform Probabilities Principle from Lass 1997, Upper Exit Principle from Labov 1994), but also include: names of language families (e.g. Uralic, Uto-Aztecan), particular languages known from antiquity (e.g. Ugaritic, Umbrian), words of foreign origin used in linguistic discussion (e.g. Umgangssprache, Urheimat), terms used in the synchronic linguistics of languages that figure heavily in historical linguistics (umlaut in the Germanic languages, udatta in Sanskrit accentology), and terms used in philological studies (e.g. underdot). This is a useful handbook for any practising historical linguist—the only one of its kind. [Harold Koch]
newsletter edition was edited by Harold Koch and compiled by the Administrator,
Pascale Jacq: email@example.com,